By Ananya Mariam Rajesh
(Reuters) -Coca-Cola surpassed Wall Street expectations for fourth-quarter revenue on Tuesday, as the beverage maker benefits from higher product prices and buoyant demand, especially for its namesake drink.
Despite the beverage maker raising prices over the last several quarters, consumers dining out and indulging in experiences like movies and sports are willing to spend more on their favorite drinks and snacks.
This is in contrast to rival PepsiCo, which last week posted a decline in sales for the first time in 14 quarters as its price hikes led to a 4% drop in volumes.
But for Coca-Cola, unit case volumes rose 2% and average selling prices increased 9% in the fourth quarter. Still, the Sprite maker forecast weak growth in organic revenue on concerns that benefits from price hikes will soon begin to taper off.
The Sprite maker expects fiscal 2024 organic revenue to grow between 6% and 7%, compared to the 12% rise seen in 2023.
Shares of Coca-Cola were up about 1% before the bell.
Wedbush analyst Gerald Pascarelli said its organic revenue forecast is better than expected and “really strong” compared to PepsiCo, which forecast a 4% rise in organic revenue.
Coca-Cola expects annual adjusted profit to be between 4% and 5%, compared to market estimates of a 4.5% growth, according to LSEG data
Easing input costs and price increases during the quarter helped Coca-Cola post an operating margin of 21% compared with 20.5% a year ago.
Its net revenue rose 7.4% to $10.95 billion beating expectations of $10.68 billion while adjusted profit of 49 cents came in line with estimates.
“Coca-Cola’s results were much better than PepsiCo’s, as Coke continues to benefit from being able to pass on price increases,” said Dave Wagner, portfolio manager at Aptus Capital Advisors that holds shares in PepsiCo.
(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)